If you’ve got a child starting school for the first time, you’ll be wanting to make that transition as easy as possible… for both you and them! These oh-so-simple but oh-so-brilliant life hacks from K-2 teacher Kath Boon will ensure you nail that big first day (and first year) of school!
1. Buy good glue sticks!
Cheap glue is rubbish. Nothing sticks and it just gets binned. Bostik all the way. And be prepared to replace glue sticks a lot! Despite ten years of trying to teach Kindy kids to draw a single line of glue around the edge, I have yet to convince them not to colour the entire sheet with glue! And cheap coloured pencils don’t sharpen either…
2. Get shoes with velcro!
Yes, it will be annoying when the kids open and close the velcro seven thousand times a day (and they will) but that is less annoying than tying 20 pairs of shoes five times a day. And way less gross than tying the wet shoelaces of small boys after a bathroom visit.
3. Label everything
No kid wants to have to admit to owning the random pair of Spiderman undies found on the bag room floor. Things will get lost but at least with a name on it you have a chance of getting it back.
4. Pack meals separately
Crunch and Sip, Morning Tea and Lunch are usually kept separately in most classrooms (your teachers will let you know how your school works) so packing them separately means everyone is clear on what is for each meal. Many a child has cried about having no lunch until we realise they ate it all at morning tea.
5. Label lunch boxes on the outside
As the person who has to hand out 20 lunchboxes, not having to go searching for a name inside the cooler bag makes life easier… and gets them eating quicker.
6. Don’t ask the teacher for progress reports in the morning
Mornings are tricky, and not always the best time to have a long spontaneous chat about your child’s progress with their teacher. There are queues for the photocopier, the principal, other teachers, the toilets (I’m yet to be in a school with more than 2-3 adult toilets for 40 staff who have short and specific times in which they can use them) and general preparation that needs to be done in that time before the bell. Make an appointment so your teacher can give you their undivided attention and be prepared.
7. Celebrate child birthdays with individual sweet treats
If you want to celebrate your child’s birthday with the class, take in cup cakes, Freddo Frogs or lollipops -something already divided into individual portions. No teacher wants to be wielding a knife around five year olds!
8. Put something identificable on the school bag
All school bags look alike. Put something identifiable on both sides of your child’s bag so they can see it easily. A cheapish key chain or bag tag makes a big difference at packing and unpacking time. And don’t leave the bag on the side of the road as you drive away (or is that just me?).
9. Be nice to office staff!
Those ladies get stuff done.
10. Enjoy the experience!
If you are excited and positive about school (even if you are a blubbering mess inside) your child will be too. Kindy is a fun and exciting time and the start of a big adventure for both of you!
Good luck to all the first timers (and those doing it for the last time too!)